When you’re gluten-free, sometimes the holiday festivities can be a bit less-than-festive since we often find ourselves spending a great deal of time worrying about what is, and what is not, safe to eat while we’d rather just be enjoying the festivities like everyone else. Around Halloween, for children with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity, this is especially concerning. With class parties at school, fun fall festivals and of course, trick-or-treating, risks seem to be lurking at every turn when it comes to gluten contamination.
I put together this 2016 Gluten-Free Halloween Candy List, which I update every September, to help you make gluten-free candy selections this fall, and any other time your sweet tooth strikes.
Note: this list is not all-inclusive but I’ve tried to make sure the top Halloween/fall treats are here, as well as mainstream brands. I’ve included a few specialty allergen-free candies, too.
2016 Gluten-Free Halloween Candy List
I’m sharing links to websites and vendors where I can for your convenience. I do not receive any compensation at all, monetary or in product samples, for suggesting any of these products to you here on my site. Also, keep in mind this is not a list of “healthy” treats. Use your own discretion when consuming sweet treats and note some of these contain artificial ingredients like color and flavor, so check those labels out first to make your best decision on what to consume for your special diet.
Always remember to carefully read labels and check sources for any candies or other foods before consuming them on your special diet as manufacturers can change ingredients and production methods at any time without notice.
- Candy Corn – Many well known brands contain wheat, traces of peanuts and/or tree nuts and other allergens or are processed in a facility where wheat is present.
For gluten-free, nut-free candy corn, try A and J Bakery. According to the website, this product is made in a nut and gluten free dedicated facility, but does contain egg and soy ingredients. This year, according to A and J’s website, you can get 25% off candy corn through the end of October discount code: AJCANDYCORN. Pretty sweet!
Jelly Belly Candy Corn is gluten free, peanut free, dairy free, and gelatin free. The candy corn contains soy protein, so is not good for those (like me) with soy allergy.
- Caramel Apple Pops & ALL Tootsie Roll Products – At this time, according to the Tootsie Roll website, all of their products are gluten-free, peanut-free and tree nut free. Note: the Caramel Apple Pops do contain soy and milk ingredients.)
- Starburst candies – According to the maker, Wrigley, these are “free of any gluten”.
Here’s what the Wrigley website says about their products, in general:
“While some Wrigley products may contain gluten, the majority of our products are gluten-free. In general, we avoid using ingredients that contain gluten where they serve no functional purpose or can be replaced by gluten-free alternatives; however, ingredients and formulas may vary between regions. When the use of ingredients containing gluten is critical to the product taste experience, we follow all labeling requirements to allow our consumers to make an informed choice. We always advise consumers who are concerned about food sensitivities to read the label and check with their doctor if they have questions.”
My advice: Contact the company to be 100% certain about specific products.
- Smarties candies – direct from their website‘s gluten-free page:
“Smarties® candy is gluten-free and safe for people with Celiac Disease.”
They also share on their website:
“Smarties® and our entire line of products are gluten free. If the UPC number on the packaging begins with “0 11206”, you can be assured that it is manufactured in a facility that is gluten free and safe to eat if you have Celiac Disease. For more information, please visit our Gluten Free page!”
Important note: Re-baggers and Canadian Smarties: Re-baggers buy the candies in bulk, then repackage the product, so that could mean gluten cross-contamination. Smarties in Canada contain wheat. You may be able to find gluten-free Smarties in Canada, but be sure to read the label carefully before you buy/consume.
- Jelly Belly gourmet jelly beans are gluten-free according to the company website, “Jelly Belly jelly beans are gluten free, peanut free, dairy free, fat free and vegetarian friendly.” This includes the black (licorice) flavor.
Licorice candy typically contains gluten (wheat), but Jelly Belly assures us that the black beans are gluten-free. Jelly Belly beans are also made in a peanut-free factory, according to the website (peanut butter flavor was retired some time ago).
- Chocolate – There’s lots of terrific fancy chocolate out there that is gluten-free (and vegan and raw, etc.), but you’re not likely to find that in your trick or treat sack. We’re talking Halloween candy and that means the classics, so I’ll cover those here.
The Hershey Company
Hershey has changed their website a bit since last year.
Their website information on gluten free products was last updated Sept 2015 and contains a full list of their gluten-free candies, baking products and syrups for the USA and Canada. It’s best to check the list yourself, as there are so many Hershey products to list and a few exceptions.
Note that Reese’s peanut butter cups ARE gluten-free but the seasonal shapes and unwrapped minis are NOT GF. See the list for more.
Hershey’s Kisses: Plain Kisses (silver and colored foil wrapped), Special Dark Mildly Sweet, Hugs, Filled Kisses (caramel, cherry cordial, vanilla creme, mint truffle), pumpkin spice flavored candies.
Nuggets (milk, milk with almonds, dark with almonds, milk with toffee & almonds)
Bars (Hershey Bar, Hershey Bar with Almonds, Almond Joy, Mounds, all Heath bars, Reese’s Fast Break, Reese’s Nutrageous, Skor, York Peppermint Patties – EXCEPT York minis & shapes)
All Dagoba products
All Scharffen Berger – Except Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder
Candies: Milk Duds (all), Reese’s Pieces, Rolo (EXCEPT Rolo minis)
Syrups (caramel, chocolate, sugar free, sundae dream caramel, sundae dream chocolate, lite, dark, strawberry, strawberry sugar free)
Toppings (Heath shell, hot fudge, caramel, milk shell, Reese’s peanut butter & chocolate peanut butter)
Baking Chips & Baking Bars (both Hershey’s and Reese’s)
Brookside Chocolate & Fruit Bars (cherry, cranberry, blueberry),
Hershey’s Cocoa (regular and special dark)
Nestle – supplies brands like Original Butterfinger candy bar, Baby Ruth candy bar, Raisinets, Bit O Honey, Oh Henry! bars, Laffy Taffy, Lik M Aid and Wonka Pixy Stix, all of which are gluten-free (but may contain other allergens, so be sure to read labels carefully!) Note: Some Nestle confections do contain gluten, so be sure to see that category in the list below.
Mars – supplies brands like M&Ms, Dove, and Milky Way. According to the company, they no longer maintain a gluten-free list (like the one Hershey’s provides on their site, linked above). Instead, Mars instructs consumers to check the product label each time for the most up-to-date allergen information. This is due, in part, to using alternate facilities to produce some products, particularly during busy holiday seasons (all manufacturers are likely to do this, too, so this is another good reason to always read those labels, even if we had a product in the past and found it was GF).
Mars states their policy on allergen labeling here.
From Mars, Milky Way Midnight and Caramel candy bars (not the Original Milky Way candy bar, see list below), Snickers candy bars, and 3 Musketeers Bars are gluten-free. In addition, plain M&Ms, some varieties of flavored M&Ms (read package for those), Dove products (not products with cookies added; see list below) are gluten-free.
Peeps & Company
Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (thanks to Tracy from FB for this one!) are gluten-free. According the the company, Peeps & Company, you will see a gluten-free label on any of their gluten-free products, so be sure to read the label. Read Peeps & Company FAQ for what they have to say about gluten and allergens in their candies.
Here’s the email response I received on 1 Oct. 2016 from the company:
“We offer many gluten free products under the MIKE AND IKE®, HOT TAMALES®, PEEPS®, GOLDENBERG’S® PEANUT CHEWS® and TEENEE BEANEE® brands, and we are in the process of updating package labels to include gluten free statements where appropriate. Because product formulations can change at any time, we encourage consumers to refer to our package labels for the most up-to-date ingredient and allergen information. All of our candies that we label as gluten free meet the criteria outlined by the FDA for labeling products as gluten free, and do not contain wheat, rye, barley, oats or crossbreeds of these grains in their manufacture. The modified food starch used in our candies is corn starch. Also, Original Dark Chocolatey PEANUT CHEWS® do not contain milk as an ingredient; however they are made on the same equipment as Milk Chocolatey PEANUT CHEWS®.
Please be aware, however, that because some of our products may be manufactured and/or packaged in a facility that may also handle non gluten free products, we encourage consumers to read the labels carefully for the most up-to-date ingredient and allergen information.”
Specialty Candy Made to be Gluten-Free and Allergen-Free
There are many specialty manufacturers producing gluten-free, allergen-free candies, as well. A few of these are:
- Annie B’s Caramels – (handcrafted caramels, all flavors are gluten-free)
- Indie Candy (gummies, lollipops, chocolates and more)
- Enjoy Life Foods (chocolate bars)
- Yummy Earth (lollipops and more)
- TruSweets Company has 2 brands – TruJoy Sweets (Choco Chews and Fruit Chews) and Surf Sweets (Trick or Treat Packs & Spooky Spiders)
- Gimbal’s Fine Candies has a variety of jelly beans and other chewy candies that are free from gluten, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy and soy. You might like Sours or Red Scottie Dogs for Halloween.
- Red Bird Peppermint Puffs (plus other flavors like Cotton Candy, Lemon and more!) from Piedmont Candy Company are top 8 free!
- Gin Gins® Ginger Candy (several varieties from which to choose)
Do you have a favorite specialty producer of gluten-free, allergen-free candy? Let me know in comments below so that I can add them to the list!
The following products are NOT gluten-free:
Note: This list in not all-inclusive, so please always read product labels and/or consult the manufacturer before consuming any foods you feel may contain gluten or those you feel may be cross-contaminated with gluten. Also see non-GF products in previous section that are in red.
From The Hershey Company:
- Almond Joy Pieces candy (Almond Joy candy bars are GF)
- Reese’s Unwrapped Minis and Reese’s Seasonal Shaped Items (like Reese’s Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkins and Christmas Trees)
- Reese’s Pieces Eggs (regular Reese’s Pieces candies are listed as GF on the Hershey website.)
- Rolo Minis (regular Rolo candies are listed as GF on the Hershey website.)
- Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder (other Scharffen Berger products are listed as GF on the Hershey website.)
- York Pieces, York Minis and York Shapes (other York Peppermint Patty products are listed as GF on the Hershey website.)
- Butterfinger Crisp, Giant, Snackerz, Medallions and seasonal shapes (Only original, regular size Butterfinger bars are GF, according to Neslte.)
- 100 Grand Candy Bar
- Wonka Nerds, Gummies, Kazoozles, Everlasting Gobstoppers, Wonka Bars (Regarding Nerds candies, according to the company, these are processed in a facility that also processes wheat and therefore they cannot ensure these are GF.)
- Chewy Spree candies
From Mars Chocolate:
- Original Milky Way bar
- Dove Cinnamon Graham Chocolates
- Dove Promises Cookies and Cream
- Pretzel M&Ms and certain varieties of flavored M&Ms, but Mars urges consumers to read each label before consuming to get the latest allergen update on products.
- Mars bar
- Twix candy bars
I hope this list helps you make the best choices for your special diet. If you have updated information or other candies you’d like me to add, please leave a comment below so that I can update this page.
Happy and Safe Gluten-Free Halloween!